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updae on self-mutilation horse, and question after resulting infection

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  • updae on self-mutilation horse, and question after resulting infection

    Hi all. The horse was gelded, and it did not go well. Got all infected, wound up in surgery, where they discovered his left cord was REALLY thick, like 4x normal - probably painful, probably the cause of the self-mutilation.

    He is on the mend now, but in the interim his legs swelled like trees and plasma leaked out around his pasterns.

    It appears the skin is now sloughing off around pasterns and knees and hind cannon bones. It's ugly, seems painful..... and none of us have ever seen anything like it.

    It is being treated with silverdine (yes, not sugardine), wrapped half-day; lunged 2x, out most of the time - only in briefly after lunging or to eat. The swelling is mostly down.
    He is still on antibiotics etc.
    Vet is happy.

    ANy info appreciated, or any treatments, etc etc.....


  • #2
    Yikes, that sounds like a really nasty infection. I've heard of swelling and oozing like that happening with cellulitis or lymphangitis, but my understanding is that it's generally confined to one leg. One article I read on cellulitis suggested that swelling like that in multiple legs could possibly be vasculitis, but I was unable to find much info on it.

    Draft horses can get chronic progressive lymphedema which causes swelling of the limbs and predisposes them to secondary infections, but I don't think it's something other breeds are prone to getting, and the timing does suggest some kind of infection related to the gelding.

    I guess what I'm really saying is that I have no idea, but that sucks. Personally, I'd probably want to haul him to a really good vet hospital, and I'd expect that they'd want him on IV antibiotics, but I realize that's not an option for everyone. *Jingles* for your friend's gelding
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
    -Edward Hoagland


    • #3
      OMG what a mess! Sorry no real advice, but lots of JINGLES!!!

      I remember reading the other tread, poor guy can't get a break!

      The only experience I have had remotely similar is with a wicked bad episode of lymphangitis, and multiple antibiotics (including IV), pressure wrapping, cold compression and hand walking/ turnout in the indoor took care of it eventually. My guy's skin wasn't sloughing off though. Please keep us posted!
      Unrepentant carb eater


      • #4
        Originally posted by lorilu View Post
        He is on the mend now, but in the interim his legs swelled like trees and plasma leaked out around his pasterns.

        It appears the skin is now sloughing off around pasterns and knees and hind cannon bones. It's ugly, seems painful..... and none of us have ever seen anything like it....

        ...Vet is happy.
        I'm confused...he has plasma leaking out around his pasterns, it got worse by spreading to the knees and hind cannons, he seems like its painful...and the vet is happy and perfectly okay with this?

        It would seem that this is not normal, and the vet should be diagnosing the problem and treating it?
        "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


        • #5
          I'm confused on the timeline and actual events, which are pretty important here. When was he actually castrated? Do I understand correctly that this was a normal castration and then he developed complications??? Which are resolved??? Please clarify.

          If the horse's skin has been scalded from nasty discharge from complications in the past, then it may slough. In this case, I'm sure COTHer's will have some advice about good salves, etc. If the castration site is still hot, swollen, and discharging pus or is abnormal right now, at this point, then call your vet back out ASAP (as in right now, this morning) or haul him to a referral center. Or maybe just his legs is/are/were swollen? I do not understand from your post. Either way, if this is still problem, the horse needs vet, pronto.


          • Original Poster

            Legs were swollen now down. Horse is under vet care after a stay at clinic for surgery due to infection. Temp etc is ok, he is on antibiotics. Just worried about sloughing skin although vet seems ok with it. (using iPhone sorry for brevity)


            • #7
              michel317 reported
              Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


              • #8
                I don't have any advice -- especially since you are working with a vet and I'd go with their advice.

                However, good luck to this horse! He's been through a lot. I hope he pulls through fine and the self-mutilating ends. His life will be so much better!
                "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


                • #9
                  A friend of mine is bringing back her mare from a horrible case of lymphangitis that was exacerbated by a sweat Wrap. The leg had what looked like third degree burns. She was using the silverdine, but had more success with honey wraps. She got the idea from a small animal vet who had treated burns with honey.

                  Sorry your horse and you are going through this.


                  • Original Poster

                    HOney.....great idea. I will mention it to horse owner (not me, but a good friend...)

                    And even tho the legs look awful, he is getting better...



                    • #11
                      Can you give us a complete timeline of the events? When he was castrated, when the infection set in, etc.


                      • Original Poster

                        He's on the mend now. Here's a time line, as best I can remember. He is not my horse, so this is just from memory:
                        Castrated at home Monday.
                        Hard time healing that week - incision kept closing up, etc. Develops fever. Vet was out regularly. Legs are swelling.
                        Put on a new set of antibiotics.
                        Called a second vet from a different practice for another opinion. He concurs with first vet. This is about day 10.
                        At (about) day 12, internal vet from first practice comes to see him and decides he has to go to clinic. Has surgery that day. Infected tissue removed, thick cord discovered, etc.
                        He came home two days later.

                        It's been about three weeks now. Legs show almost no swelling, but skin is ugly! It looks like it hurts him to move - not like lameness, not like a foot issue - just like it hurts. He is worked 2x/day in roundpen to get him moving, and is out about 18 hrs/day.

                        He's a very sweet boy. The worst part is he seems SO beat down - he is as tired of being sick as we are!

                        thanks for everyone's ideas and opinions. Hope none of you every have to go through this.


                        • #13
                          Poor guy. I'm sorry it has been such a tough go for all of you.


                          • #14
                            ^ This. Poor boy

                            Maybe ask the vet about applying a Voltaren cream.


                            • #15
                              I think your best bet would be to get the vet out there and take some cultures. I have seen a case similar to what you described. The horse had something called purpura hemorrhagica where large amounts of edema and skin sloughing were present. (Of course it could be a variety of things, and I'm not qualified to make a diagnosis.)
                              Last edited by RoyalPrestige; Oct. 10, 2012, 08:14 PM.
                              The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it.


                              • #16
                                Poor boy. We're jingling for him.
                                In the meantime, since he needs to move, could he have some type of pain med? I'll bet he's very sick of hurting so badly.
                                "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp